Commentary

Vikings' balance spells trouble for Dallas

Originally Published: December 4, 2009
By Ron Jaworski | ESPN.com

"Monday Night Football" analyst Ron Jaworski breaks down the matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys:

The game between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings is shaping up to be a nice matchup featuring two solid defenses trying to stop two top quarterbacks.

Looking at the past two games Dallas played, both against Philadelphia, I think the Eagles made a mistake by blitzing so much. They clearly defined where Tony Romo was going to go with the football. The minute the ball was snapped, he knew what to do. He was in total command of the offense. The Eagles should have put a little doubt in his mind by letting things develop downfield, forcing Romo to make a decision. The heavy blitzes make it easier, in a way. The ball is out quick. Not complicated.

The Vikings will do the opposite. They are not a blitzing team. They like the Cover 2 shell, with the corners up on the wide receivers. They jam the receivers, slow them down and let the pressure get to the QB. I think that is the way to play Romo. Force him to read coverages and make decisions. Especially with DE Jared Allen going against the struggling T Flozell Adams. Allen will probably get to Romo more than once.

For the Dallas defense, Minnesota's balance presents some problems. They are not the one-dimensional, pass-happy Eagles. Brett Favre has RB Adrian Peterson in his backfield and three top WRs in Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin, whom I think is the key. The Cowboys' LBs and safeties are not good in coverage. If you can get one of them matched up with Harvin in the slot, that is a clear Minnesota advantage. Favre has always done well throwing between the numbers and Harvin has shown he can thrive there, too.

Romo and Favre are really the keys to this game. I think Romo will struggle with the crowd noise and that it could be a long day for Adams. And I think Favre's offense matches up a little better against the Dallas defense.

Ron Jaworski

NFL analyst / writer
Ron Jaworski is one of the most popular and knowledgeable analysts covering the NFL today. Since joining ESPN in 1990, the former standout NFL quarterback has covered the league from virtually every angle -- sideline reporter, game-site reporter, host and both studio and game analyst. From 2007-11, Jaworski occupied one of the most coveted positions in sports as a Monday Night Football analyst.